Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Impossible Righteousness

Imagine sitting court side at a New York Knicks game in 2010 when and if Lebron James goes there. The crowd is crazy, celebrities line the floor, and Lebron James rules the court like a king indeed. This interesting fellow that is definitely out of place, being court side because He smells horrible, is wearing ugly clothes, has disgustingly dirty feet, and some old sandals, comes and sits next to you. He says something along the lines of, “Wow, that is impressive, he is a great player, probably the best, Lebron James may be king of the court, but I am the King of Kings,” and captures your attention as you realize who this really is. It is The Christ, Jesus sitting next to you. He just watches Lebron run down the court and almost rip the rim off the backboard and says, “Hmm…you see that kid….pretty amazing...you see Lebron James…if you want to enter the Kingdom of God you have to be better than him at basketball.”

Dangit Bobby! This is unfair right? How can one be better than probably one of the only two infallible basketball players on the planet (Kobe being number 2)? Anyone who knows basketball or understands the game knows how brilliant Lebron is and how talented he is. Anyone knows that it would be near impossible to be better than him. How would it truly make you feel to hear Jesus tell you courtside you have to be better than him to enter the kingdom?

That is what is going on early in Matthew. Jesus is talking to a group of Jewish people and tells them that their righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees to enter the kingdom (Ch 5). To a bunch of Jewish people they had to feel the hopelessness that we feel being told we would have to be better than Lebron. Jesus begins His statement assuring the audience that He did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. Then again there is this poetic echo throughout Jesus teaching too. You have heard it said, but I say…this phrases repeats itself several times throughout chapter 5, 6, and 7.

You begin to get the idea that Jesus wants something better than simply not doing or doing. The Pharisees were the kings of the court at keeping within the commands, but that is all they did. They did right and did not do wrong. That alone is empty and Jesus knew it. Jesus is offering and commanding something greater from His followers here. He is saying don’t just not be an adulterer, don’t even think about it, don’t just not be a murdered, don’t even think about your brother wrongly. Jesus wants more than our actions. Sometimes as I look at Christianity and the way people have over complicated it, I wonder if they are living in this moralistic view of the Pharisees instead of obeying Jesus call to something more, a bigger righteousness that will get them into the kingdom. Jesus didn’t say something to bring about impossible odds, like your chances at beating Lebronm James in a basketball game, but commanded more righteousness than that of the Pharisees to draw attention to the emptiness of acting as moralists alone instead of truly having a changed hear and mind. Pharisees will not enter the kingdom, don’t be fooled to think your actions or religion will, only having a truly changed heart by Jesus will. May you know this righteousness that is beyond the Pharisees and may you feel the freedom of a beautiful kingdom with a loving King.

No comments:

Post a Comment